I was riding in the desert the other day and spotted a bunch of men digging a neat, tidy square hole in the sand. Thinking that perhaps they'd found something interesting, I rode over and greeted them to be told that they were, in fact, digging up sand. Okay.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
I do like photos of our eccentric driving practices, but this is a bit different. While out riding the other day we noticed a group of men standing staring at a canal and a water buffalo bull. There were long silences and then vigorous conversation. As we passed we saw that a cart had gone into the canal and the men were trying to haul it out with the bull. At least no one was hurt.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Our wild red/brown doves are interesting. I have about six of them that were found as babies and brought to the aviary to learn to fly, but then they never want to leave. Doves, quite contrary to their reputations as bearers of peace, are aggressive and territorial. With a gang of them inside the aviary, the doves outside are busy threatening the aviary doves with whatever it is that doves do and then nesting to bring up their young dovelets.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Palm trees are more work than houses. The fronds get trimmed a couple or three times a year, the blossoms must be fertilised, the fruit protected and then picked...and all of this is taking place about 10 to 15 metres off the ground. What's a guy to do? Climb! The harness is made of palm rope and cotton rope and it enables the workers to scamper up the trunk and then, in this case, work away with an axe to chop off the extra fronds and remove the extra fiber. Fronds will be come mats, boxes and furniture while the fiber is woven into ropes.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Centuries ago the lake at Dahshur was filled every summer during the inundation. When the Nile stopped flooding in the 70's it became necessary to fill the lake with the Nile water with a canal. This is the channel that feeds the lake now.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
You still find the donkey-powered water wheels out here...this one is right outside my back door to the farm. Usually the donkeys are pretty easy going and will walk along quietly as long as they are blindfolded so that they don't know they are walking in circles. Donkeys, unlike us humans, are too smart to keep going in circles. But every now and then you have a crafty donkey who needs a bit of supervision and small boys don't mind riding in circles.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Egypt's relationship with cats is of legend and the cats here seem to know it. This little monster showed up at a friend's door, way too young to be on her own but still fiercely independent. She has a pet carrier in the corner of the garden to call her own and is quite keen on letting everyone know when she needs something. Obviously one of Bastet's daughters...
Sunday, October 11, 2009
No one seems to actually know what's going on near the Mariouteya canal, but fields, roads and gardens are being flooded by overflow from the irrigation canal. I've seen houses where the agricultural water is lapping at the front door. Here in the fields you can look at what seems to be a pond and then realise that some poor farmer isn't able to raise the food that he needs to be planting for his family or his animals. And the damage isn't just done while the water is standing. Afterwards higher levels of salt affect the land, while the water has killed all the plants right down to the roots.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
I've had a friend, Tracy Karbus of The Fifth aElement (www.TheFifthaElement.com) staying with me for a couple of weeks. Tracy arranges very special tours to Egypt and she also does equine-assisted learning workshops, wonderful opportunities for play and learning with horses. We had a group of high school girls from one of the American schools in Cairo and the task was to convince a horse to moved to a specific place in a large paddock without the use of language, touching, or bribing with food. Kids today are pretty inventive!
Monday, October 5, 2009
Any foreigner passing by this brilliantly coloured donkey would automatically stop and stare. The interesting orange coat is due to the family dyeing it with henna for luck and to keep away the evil eye. The colour should keep almost anything away!
Sunday, October 4, 2009
A friend of mine from California, Tracy Karbus, does self-exploration workshops with horses and is visiting for a few weeks. Some of my friends and neighbours have stopped by to try out the workshops at my farm. One of the exercises is to groom a horse with your eyes closed and it's extraordinary how much more you can sense without your vision sometimes.
Friday, October 2, 2009
The month of fasting is over as is the feast, but this photo of a village coffee shop during Ramadan shows the men sitting and watching traffic, bargaining for some sugar cane for their children, and not having any coffee or water pipes. In the evening the coffee shop would have been crowded with patrons. By day, it's pretty quiet.